merry christmas bread.

merry christmas!

DSC_1450

for another year this magnificent piece of drift wood is our christmas tree. look familiar? it’s also the valentine’s tree.

DSC_1442i love how eclectic it becomes from the entire community decorating it. glad to see the island so properly represented with sand dollars, though. my favourite little keepsake.

DSC_1440

not being in Toronto for christmas has forced us to change the way we approach the holiday. our little condo has no decorations, and we’ve eliminated presents – just stockings. it’s actually pretty lovely; christmas becomes about family again. and i love this crazy little bunch.

one tradition we were able to take with us was breakfast. sister bakes the most delicious bread, and we all enjoy a hot beverage (coffee for mom and sis. tea for dad and me).

DSC_0084

orange-cranberry christmas bread
makes one loaf

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup melted butter/margarine
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup nuts

DSC_0082

preheat oven to 350 degrees.
in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nuts, cranberries.
in large bowl, beat sugar and butter. add egg then milk, orange juice, and orange zest.
mix dry into wet.
pour batter into greased/greased and lined loaf pan.
bake 45-50 minutes

what are your christmas traditions?

holly, jolly spirit.

there might be snow on the ground, but when accompanied by -20 temperatures, it does nothing for my holly, jolly attitude. i’ve yet to find my Christmas spirit, and since i leave the city in eight days, i’m not decorating my apartment.

thank goodness for Leigh, and her canadian christmas blog swap. i took part last year, and when the signup sheet came around again this year, i knew i had to put my name down.

due to the odd number of people taking part, i was matched with two ladies. one to send, and one to receive.

Amber, who writes at The Girl with the Red Hair, was the lovely lady sending me some goodies.

DSC_1248

my package arrived, tapped to the nines. a girl after my own heart, i had to use scissors to get the thing open.

a lovely yoga face/hand towel, a christmas mug with such neat typography, candies and candy canes. oh, and an after eight chocolate bar that was devoured before photographed. oopsie!

in her card, Amber told me that she was looking for a yoga ornament (adorable, thanks for learning about my likes) but when she couldn’t find one, opted for her favourite: an owl.

DSC_1232

i love it’s sparkles and neutral colouring.

DSC_1253

the towel and goodies also looked pretty along side the delicious sugar cookies i received from a coworker. the best part of photographing cookies? is getting to eat them afterwards.

thanks for my first present and sparkles, Amber.

what puts you in the christmas spirit?

Give a little joy.

As much as I talk about Wish Lists and Favourite Things, I don’t actually need presents – unless someone wants to pay my rent, or get my car new breaks, I could always use that. So when it came time to celebrate with my friends, I didn’t want to receive a $20 Secret Santa gift that I probably would never use (sucks about that no gift cards, no booze rule most people put into place.)

Instead, we decided on a little shake up. We’d still pull names for a Secret Santa, but we’d pull an age between 0-16, too. All gifts bought would be donated to The Women’s Centre of Calgary’s toy room after we unwrapped them. Moms in need are able to ‘shop’ the toy room and pick out a gift for their child.

Me? I got Ania at age 2. The girl with wicked shoes as an adult was bought a princess dress up kit, heels included.

princess

The gent that pulled my name got me a karaoke microphone. I know it’s not because of my beautiful horrible singing voice – maybe it’s because I’m so loud? Or possible because I like to be the centre of attention? We’ll never know.

A few other gems:

Rebecca and her Operation

operation

Brooke and My Little Pony

brooke

Martin and his J. Beibs doll

beiber

Katey’s Cabbage Patch

katey

Baby James and his Superman onesie

james

All of us with our fantastic gifts and warm, fuzzy feeling smiles.

group

I cannot wait till Friday when I get to drop off all of these toys to the Women’s Centre. If you’re in Calgary, visit their website and see how you can help.

Do you involve those less fortunate into your holiday gift giving? If so, how?